Today is the last day of summer vacation. Tomorrow the girls start school, Emma again and Sara for the very first time. The first grader’s very excited to enter the French-Finnish School and as usual, mommy’s nervous about nearly everything. In addition to the normal worries (will she feel good there, will she have friends and in our case – will she eat something?) there are also others that are linked to the bilingual school : will she have a French teacher or a Finnish one (I can’t decide which one would be best as they will anyway have an equal amount of teaching in each language), will she be motivated to learn to read in her two languages (so far no enthusiasm whatsoever for either) and how will I manage the 20km there every morning and still make it to work on time as Gilles (who usually takes the girls to school) is bound to travel a lot this fall. For me it’s also “la rentrée”: a new school year with new pupils and old pupils. Knowing that I might seem strange to some, here’s the truth: I love going back to work after summer vacation. Even as a child, I always loved it when school started again. Partly because of friends, yes, but I also got a real kick about the new books, school supplies, and learning. That’s probably one of the reasons I became a teacher. There really is a special feeling about the beginning of the school year: it seems like we all get a fresh start to be more efficient and organized with our time.
I realized this the other day as I was watching a TV show called “The Middle”, all about the beginning of a school year where Frances, the mom, is determined that this time she will be organized and get everything done on time. All the backpacks are ready, after school activities written on a whiteboard, and she has baked and put in the freezer about 6 month’s worth of bakesale brownies. I totally relate as I am still at that stage. It’s when everything is ready for the race, but it hasn’t started yet. We’ve put up the school time tables on the fridge (in French of course, you can find a lot of things on the Internet), the new family calendar is up and waiting to remind us of things we need to do and keep track of. I’ve spent days making lesson plans, and laminating things for my classroom. Motivated by this blogpost http://www.teachhub.com/my-teacher-survival-kit, I also took some time to prepare my own survival kit to help me through those Wednesdays when I have classes from 8 am to 4 pm. It’s all neatly organized in my personal locker. It looked awesome and it’s too bad that I didn’t take a picture of it for this post.
I try to hold onto this feeling for as long as I can, but the reason I relate to Frances, the TV mom, is that I know myself and that next week (or the week after at the latest) it will be a completely different story. Frances, the TV mom, lasted only a couple of days before she ended up throwing bags of frozen brownies at her kids for breakfast as they were running for the school bus. She and her husband congratulated each other for throwing in the towel earlier than others and saving a lot of stress in the process. I know that I too am just a wanna-be organized person and probably not fooling anyone with my efforts. Not ready to throw in the towel yet, though, so let’s keep it just between us for now. After all, this year might be different.
I will keep you up-to-date on how things go here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/bebilingual.net